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Well, it has been a while since I have given an update on Spencer's Separation Anxiety. I had been spending almost every day and night stressing about it, trying to figure out what to do to help him get over this. As you know, back in October 2007, we realized that he was barking for 3 hours and 20 minutes after we had left for work and the dogs were fighting in the crate. We have since split them up and moved Spencer to a larger kennel and Sydney stayed in the crate right next to him. Things had improved quite a bit but we were still having trouble figuring out what the triggers were. He went from 3H20M to about 1 hour to as little as 30 minutes. I was getting really excited by this point, we were finally seeing improvements but the problem was, we got stalled there, we could not get the time under about 30 minutes of being upset. Then, out of the blue it went back up to 1 hour to 1.5 hours for what seemed like no reason. After taking the advice of some friends who were trying to help me figure this all out, I started to just forget about it. I stopped feeling sorry for him, stopped worrying about his barking, just dealt with it as it came and went from there.

I don't want to say this out loud because I don't want to jinx anything, but these past 2 weeks, things have been really getting better. Last week he came back down to about 30 minutes and by the end of the week, he was only upset for about 20-25 minutes. This week, he was around the same at the beginning of the week, Tuesday was 21 minutes, I was so happy!! Wednesday was 13 minutes, you can just imagine the happy dance I was doing at that point!! Yesterday, he wasn't barking when we left but after watching the video, I saw that he started to bark 3 minutes after we were gone. He barked off and on for 6 minutes, SIX, that's it then he ate a kong and went in his crate to sleep. This morning was similar to yesterday, no barking by the time we had left so I guess I will see tonight if it was as good as yesterday.

We have made a lot of changes, they are being kennelled together again and there have not been any fights. We have changed their exercise routine getting out more on the weekends for long hikes. I have started switching their food and have been giving them sardines. Apparently an imbalance of Omega 3 & 6 can really cause temperament issues in dogs. I have also been going to the basement early to set up the camera and just sit there checking my e-mails and stuff. He comes down and goes into his kennel and lies down on his bed. When I hear that Trevor is ready, I get up, give them their kongs and I leave, he has actually started eating the treat I give him right away and he goes for the kong. He is finally getting out of that frantic state. I think it is helping that he is with Sydney again. I also think that a lot of the barking was just a bad habit and he is realizing that is he barks too long, there are no kongs left for him to eat (yes, Sydney is a pig and eats them ALL). They have only been together for 2 weeks and that was when it started to get better. I am almost getting excited to leave in the morning now, hoping that we will have another great day. As much as I thought I was staying calm before, I wasn't and he knew it.

So, that is where we are at, we are not quite there yet but I really do think that there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
 

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First of all I LOVE avatar with the shades and water wings!

I am sooo happy for you and Spencer. I know how hard it is to leave them when you know how unhappy they are. Sometimes i thought that i had worse seperation anxiety than Buddy did!

Your dedication and consistency is paying off. Big HOORAY for you and your family. I wish you continued sucess. Your outcome makes me feel like there is hope for Buddy too.

Keep us posted!
 

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Wow Jennifer! That is great. I remember the video you posted a few months ago, and it really was heartbreaking. Especially the part when he snapped at Sydney /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/cool.gif
I'm so happy to learn of this improvement. Keeping my fingers (and Chloe's paws) crossed /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/eek.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Actually, he didn't snap at her, she snapped at him for stepping on her and he reacted but ya, their tiffs have drastically reduced. Now they are over when one tries to steal the other ones kong which I don't worry about because they do that when we are home and it is just all noise.

Good news about today, no constant barking, he might have barked 5 or 6 times but it wasn't all at once, it was just a couple barks here and there. YAY Almost a bark free calm day.
 

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That is awesome! /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/thumbup2.gif I've been having the same problems with Jersey since I got her, so I can relate to the stress you feel. She would cry for hours on end. I live in an apartment though and have gotten several complaints on her. That is my problem now. I can't let her bark at all for fear of my neighbors complaining. I'm afraid to even try leaving her anymore, just in case she goes crazy for that time and the neighbors complain. So, she goes to day care when we're not here. I'm very happy to hear that Spencer is making such great improvments! Way to go! I hope it continues.
 

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Oh, sorry - you're right about the snapping now that I "rewind" my memory....

Anyway, it's super great to learn of the progress. I guess the vibes they get from us influence more than we think, ha?
 

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Great stuff Spencer, keep it up /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/icon_exclaim.gif
Make your Momma proud.
PS. My dogs bark for about 2 minutes every time I leave them, standard procedure,then they relax and go to sleep.
 

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Wow....

Sounds like you're on the way to a calm household. What a battle you've had!! Wow......I can imagine how heartbreaking it is to watch Spencer struggle with SA.

Congratulations!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks guys. It has been a long hard road but we are almost there. We had another good day today, only about 30 seconds of on and off barking but he is no longer in a panic, just barks to bark then eats his kong.
 

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I think you mentioned in a previous post that you were teaching the dogs to use the treadmill. Maybe you can put Spencer on the treadmill for 15-30 minutes before you go to work or leave him. Then you can let him cool down and feed him breakfast or his kong. Most dogs naturally want to rest after exercise, elimination, and feeding. Just a thought. Great job, though, Spencer and Mom!
 
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